The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties is adding about 50 staffers as it prepares to take over childcare services for the Richland School District in a little more than a month.
Meanwhile, Champions — the organization that until recently had the district’s childcare contract — is “researching alternative locations for our programs” in Richland for the upcoming school year, a spokeswoman said.
For now, Champions is finishing up its work with the district, with its services ending on Aug. 24.
Boys & Girls Clubs will take over starting on the first day of school, Aug. 28.
“We are excited that the Richland School District selected us. We are committed to having quality programming on Day 1,” said Brian Ace, Boys & Girls Clubs executive director. “Licensed childcare is one of the ways to live out our mission in our community. It’s very mission-centric to us — it’s a natural expression of our mission. “
Champions provided school year and summer care in the Richland district for years, but in May the district issued a routine request for proposals for before- and after-school and summer childcare.
Champions and Boys & Girls Clubs submitted proposals.
The Clubs’ proposal ended up being a better deal, Richland officials said.
“Both (organizations) provide great service. One was less expensive for families, and that weighed heavily,” said Rick Jansons, school board president.
Ace said the Clubs’ services will cost 15 to 20 percent less than Champions and offer more flexibility for families.
The change sparked some controversy last month, with some parents feeling blindsided as word spread that the district was considering a switch before the district announced the news.
The district had expected to notify families after the school board took action and “did not anticipate there would be earlier notice going out,” Superintendent Rick Schulte said at the time.
Boys & Girls Clubs will provide care at all 10 of the district’s elementary schools, and also will offer preschool at some schools — likely Jefferson and Jason Lee.
“If district has a need (for more), we’ll meet it,” Ace said.
The organization, which hasn’t had a presence in Richland for years, also will look to expand other services into the city.
“Is that a large traditional Boys & Girls Club? A teen center? We’re not sure yet, but we’ll work with the district on the community’s needs,” Ace said.
Boys & Girls Clubs wants Champions staffers to apply for the open positions, reaching out to them in an open letter. The clubs want to add about 10 salaried site coordinators and about 40 other workers to their roster.
“We know there are current Champions staff providing great care and want to encourage them to apply. We would like to see consistency,” Ace said.
Meanwhile, Champions may open its own location in Richland, spokeswoman Colleen Moran said.
“We know how much our Champions means to Richland parents, so we’re going to research alternative locations for our programs for the upcoming school year,” she said. “We’ll let parents know if and when we’re able to find a new location.”